For nearly 30 years, Harry Connick Jr. has been an entertainment powerhouse: a Grammy Award-winning musician, a Broadway star, a television actor and a former American Idol judge. Now, he’s back on TV as the host of his own talk show simply called Harry.
“I wanted to bring a party to the middle of the day,” Connick tells Guideposts.org of his decision to executive produce the show and make it less talk, more entertainment. “I turn on the TV and I see a lot of stuff that’s hard to watch. I always felt there was a spot for a show that had a little bit of the things that I love, like music, spontaneity, uplifting people and an overall inspirational message; all of the things that are in my comfort zone.”
The show is unscripted and often, the host finds out what’s on the agenda during segments like his “Harry Tries” series at the same time as the audience. “That’s how I like it,” Connick says about sitting down with a celebrity like Sandra Bullock or Whoopi Goldberg one moment and then visiting a fan’s hometown to give a deserving person a “day off” with his “I Got This” segment the next. “I like waking up in the morning and not knowing what’s coming my way. That’s exciting for me. It doesn’t work for everybody, but it works for me.”
Though celebrities are a mainstay on the show—he’s even had his former cast mates from the hit show Will & Grace on to talk rumors of it’s potential reboot (“your guess is as good as mine” he says to the rumors)—it’s the everyday heroes he features who, he says are what “really blows me away.”
On the recurring segment “Leading Ladies,” Connick places the spotlight on extraordinary women making a difference in the world.
“I was raised around amazing powerful women,” the host says. “I wanted a show that really celebrated women.”
From a young teen helping the homeless in Detroit, to the first female referee in the NFL and the first African American female fighter pilot to serve in combat, Connick aims to use his platform to uplift and inspire his audience by providing real-life examples of people making a difference in the community and in the world.
It seems to be Connick’s forte – the ability to connect with everyday people doing incredible things. His segments like “My Unusual Job,” “Talented Kids” and “My Hidden Talent” regularly feature normal people displaying their above average talents and strange occupations.
“I love going out and meeting these new people every day, the ones I interview and the ones in the audience,” Connick says of his guests.
The star, who’s busy raising three daughters with his wife when he’s not hosting, says the values instilled in him at a young age are what he ultimately hopes to bring back to TV.
“For me, it’s all about family and faith and community and those are the things that I think about in my personal life and on the show too,” Connick says. “There’s not a lot of difference between the message on air vs. off air. It’s not my job to preach…but I think there’s a way to try to share that message and have people walking away feeling better.”